A frittata, an Italian omelet, was one of my family’s go-to dishes for Friday suppers or Lenten meals, when as devout Catholics, we needed to abstain from meat. I remember how my aunt hovered over the frying pan in which she had just sauteed the fritatta’s filling, which ranged from onions and peppers to left-over spaghetti to potatoes, to even a hunk of fresh ricotta. Using a wooden spoon, she would gently push the setting eggs towards the center of the pan, allowing the uncooked portion to take their place.
When the eggs stopped flowing from the top to the sides, my aunt would take a plate to cover the pan and then, with total confidence, quickly flip the frittata and slide it back into the pan to finish cooking the other side. When she instructed me on the flipping process, she stressed how important it was to do it quickly without any hesitation. It took me quite a few times to master, but eventually I worked my way from a three-egg frittata to a ten-egg. I might add that even my failed attempts, although quite messy, made mighty tasty plates.
Today, however, flipping a frittata seems to have been replaced my slipping it into an oven or under a broiler to finish it. Or at least that’s what it seems like from reading most recent recipes and watching cooking shows. I’ve tried this oven method and, although it works, it fails, in my opinion, to deliver as puffy and as moist a frittata as the stove-top one. Therefore, I continue to follow in my aunt’s footsteps and flip my frittatas using a plate or, depending on its size, sometimes a pizza tin or even a thin cutting board.
Recently I came across a recipe on the New York Times website for a roasted asparagus frittata and was happy to see that it used the stove-top method to finish, as well as providing directions for the oven/broiler method. Does this perhaps augur the return of the frittata flip?